Relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and diabetes among 105 180 asylum seekers in the Netherlands

Charles Agyemang, Simone Goosen, Kenneth Anujuo, Gbenga Ogedegbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Several reports have demonstrated a relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) mainly in combat veterans. The relationship between PTSD and T2DM has not been evaluated among vulnerable migrant populations. The main objective of this study was therefore to assess the relationship between PTSD and T2DM among asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Methods: Analysis of a national electronic database of the Dutch Community Health Services for Asylum seekers aged 18 years (N=105180). Results: Asylum seekers with PTSD had a higher prevalence of T2DM compared with those without PTSD. The age-adjusted prevalence ratios (APR) were 1.40 (95 CI, 1.12-1.76) in men and 1.22 (95 CI, 0.95-1.56) in women compared with individuals without PTSD, respectively. There was an interaction between PTSD and comorbid depression (P<0.05) in men and women, indicating that the effect of PTSD and comorbid depression on T2DM differed. When the analyses were stratified by depression status, among non-depressed group, individuals with PTSD had a higher prevalence of T2DM compared with those without PTSD [APR=1.47 (95 CI, 1.15-1.87) in men and APR=1.27 (95 CI, 0.97-1.66) in women]. Among the depressed individuals, however, there was no association between PTSD and T2DM [APR=0.87 (95 CI, 0.43-1.76) in men, and APR=1.00, (95 CI, 0.54-1.83) in women]. Conclusion: The findings suggest that history of PTSD is related to high levels of T2DM among asylum seekers independent of comorbid depression. Clinicians and policy makers need to take PTSD into account when assessing and treating diabetes among vulnerable migrant populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-662
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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